Health Notes

Does Hair Dye Increase Your Risk Of Cancer?

Professional tools for hair dyeing on pink background, flat lay

If you’re looking at an invasion of grey hairs and/or dark roots, you might well be tempted to get out the hair dye. An estimated 53% of women in the UK – and an increasing number of men – use hair dye at home, according to Mintel. Of those, 70% choose permanent hair colour, which raises the most concern in terms of cancer risk.

Should you really be worried? It’s a confusing area so I want to decode it and give you the headlines. Read More…

How Yoga Can Help Anxiety

relaxed black woman meditating in yoga pose isolated over yellow

However buoyant we are usually, the current climate is triggering a tsunami of anxiety and depression, which affects people to varying degrees of intensity. Many of us don’t want to take medication – probably don’t even go to our doctor – and are looking around for alternative ways of calming our fearful brains.

In August, a new study found that yoga was significantly more effective for diagnosed anxiety (medically called generalised anxiety disorder or GAD) than standard education on stress management. Cognitive behavioural therapy was more effective than both at dealing with negative thinking but waiting lists are long and experienced therapists often difficult to access. Practising yoga offers a safe, non-drug and widely available way of dealing with these distressing states of mind. Read More…

Aromatherapy For Autumn

Bottle of essential oil with herbs

Here at Beauty Bible, we love aromatherapy and everything it does for us – mind, body and soul. Geraldine Howard, the late joint founder of Aromatherapy Associates, was a dear friend and a great influence on us, as well as on many aromatherapists then and now. One of these is Emily Muffett, who to our delight has reappeared in our lives after an absence of several years.

Once the high-powered Director of Marketing for UK and Europe at Jurlique, Emily decided to take up a very different line of work. ‘I needed to reset and think about what I really wanted to do. I decided to follow my heart and delve deeper into natural skincare and remedies. I realised almost immediately that aromatherapy was the right path for me.’ Geraldine Howard influenced Emily profoundly, she says. ‘She was an inspiration to me. She had an amazing ability to connect and be so generous with her time and advice.’ Read More…

Trouser Up To Prevent Lyme Disease

tick remover card by lifesystems

Down here in Dorset, we’re surrounded by footpaths by fields where sheep, cattle and horses graze and deer roam, foxes and badgers are rife – even the odd hedgehog, and mice and voles scuttling around in the grass and undergrowth. Yes, it’s rural bliss. It’s also prime hunting ground for ticks, the tiny critters that piggyback on all these beasts.

The problem is that the ticks feed on the blood of their hosts (little vampires!) and about 10% of them ingest the infectious bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that cause Lyme disease, which is virtually always transmitted to people by the bite of an infected tick.

Like many people living in the country, I used to blithely pull off ticks from my horses with bare fingers, squishing them under my nails. Then, some 15 years ago, I started to hear stories about neighbours being diagnosed with Lyme disease and suffering long-term debilitating symptoms. These can be serious enough for sufferers to give up working and may include neurological problems. Read More…

Diabetes And The Low Carb Diet

low carb spelled with vegetables on white background

How much will two slices of wholemeal bread increase your blood sugar? That may sound like a trick question but it’s not. In fact, there’s the equivalent of six teaspoons of table sugar in those two slices of ‘good for you’ bread. Likewise, a 150-gram serving of boiled rice has the equivalent of ten teaspoons of sugar, with nine teaspoons in a serving of potatoes.

While many people nowadays know that the fine white sparkly stuff is bad for our health – ‘pure, white and deadly,’ as pioneering ‘70s nutritionist Dr John Yudkin put it – most are unaware that all carbohydrates are in fact sugars. And sugars raise blood glucose (sugar) levels, which can cause a multitude of ill health conditions including weight gain with all its attendant problems such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Most recently, obesity has been identified as one of the key factors in patients suffering serious complications and death from COVID-19. Read More…

Thoughts On My Brother’s Last Illness

black and white photo of two siblings holding hands in warm clothes outside on a lawn

When the father of a dear friend died some years back, we talked about the words we use – ‘death’, ‘dying’, ‘passing on’ and so on – and how they made us feel. Which was at best passive, but more a sense of being disconnected – totally cut off from people who had been with us all our lives.

I talked to others including the father of a small boy killed in a coach crash far from home. To help his mourning sister, they designated a particular star as his so she could look up on clear nights and see her brother’s star sparkling. The notion that the people we love go star travelling still comforts me – fanciful perhaps but a way of keeping some connection with the person who’s died and their place in the universe.

My younger brother Simon died very recently after months of pain and suffering from cancer and Parkinson’s disease with other complications. He was at home and we watched as this intensely strong vibrant person declined. It was very distressing, and increasingly took over our minds every hour of the day and often night. Now his children – they’re grown ups in their thirties but he always called them ‘the kids’ – and I are in that strange state swinging between relief that his suffering has ended and unruly emotions of all kinds, laced with deep tiredness both in our bodies and minds. Read More…